Celebration muddled through a disappointing 1-9 season in 2017, but the Storm needed just one week to match that for 2018.
And they can eclipse that with the first 2-0 start since 2015 Friday with a win over Orlando Freedom. Kickoff at John Bushey Stadium is slated for 7 p.m.
The Storm put themselves in that position last week with an 18-14 that was hardly flawless and wasn’t fully locked down until freshman safety Noah Kapusta pushed Poinciana quarterback Kolton Richards out of bounds on a fourth-and-22 scramble just short of the sticks.
“The kids played really well, it was the results of a lot of hard work thus far,” CHS Coach Jay Sobke said. “We had tons of opportunities to do more, so we have plenty to clean up for Friday.”
Sobke put the game on the arm of junior quarterback Jacob Eddowes, who was 23-of-43 passing for 284 yards and a pair of touchdowns and interceptions. He rallied Celebrations from down 7-0 in the first quarter, after the Eagles got on the board with a Connor Beeken seven-yard run, and down 14-9 in the third quarter after Cesar Encarnacion returned the second-half kickoff to the Storm 1-yard line and Richards plowed in from there.
Eddowes hit Lucas Demarino on a 15-yard pass to the flat shortly before halftime to give the hosts a 9-7 lead. Trailing 14-9 after Richards’ score, Eddowes punctuated a schoring drive by lofting a pass over the Eagles’ secondary to Ke’Shawn Peterson on a 30-yard scoring strike.
Kicker Oliver Trowsdale, who hit a 24-yard field goal early in the second quarter to get Celebration on the board, stretched the lead to 18-14 with a 22-yarder late in the third quarter.
Eddowes and Celebration’s receivers, asked to carry the load with their run game stuck in neutral, came up big. Peterson (six catches, 86 yards) led in yardage while Jacob Graham had 10 catches for 72 yards and Jacob (3-76) and Lucas Demarino (3-50) caught big gainers.
“The receiving corps is a senior group of guys with good hands who found some space Friday,” Sobke said.
Freedom is also looking to claw back after a 2-8 2017 season. The Patriots, led by new coach Phil Vogt, fell to Evans, 32-18, last week, despite a pair of touchdown strikes from quarterback Cooper Galvin to Demorie Tate.
“They’re a very athletic team,” Sobke said. “They’re like us in that they have a lot to prove and will be looking at us to do that.”
Poinciana is back at home Friday against Mulberry, a former district opponent, at 7 p.m. Eagles Coach Phillip Prior said his team had opportunities to win last week.
“We just didn’t make them, and it hurt the kids, but it shows they care,” he said. “This week we’re teaching to prepare, that’s the big emphasis this week, and turning what happened into a positive.
“Mulberry’s quarterback is one of the best athletes we’ll see all year, so we’ll have to contain him. On offense we have to create more explosive plays.”